Folk duo Rue Royale are not afraid of a challenge.
Rue Royale, comprised of married couple Brookln and Ruth Dekker, have always done things their own way. From self-releasing their first albums to distributing their CDs with hand-stitched packaging, the band’s work ethic is legendary. Near-constant touring elevated their status; following the 2008 release of their debut LP, Rue Royale spent almost 7 years on the road. By 2014, they needed a break.
The couple decided to take some time off, but their relaxing respite quickly became complicated. The birth of their daughter, while a happy event, pushed them into a world of unknowns. Meanwhile, political strife in both America and Britain brought new kinds of psychological stress. The pair found themselves struggling to make sense of what was going on. They note:
“Life got weird and difficult over the last few years – both personally and in the world around us.”
Rue Royale’s latest album In Parallel is a direct reflection of the couple’s efforts to regain their footing in the face of uncertainty. The record portrays the joy of having a child, as well as the strain of new responsibilities. Rue Royale embrace the process of discovery by including a wide variety of styles, and they brought in Sean Carey of Bon Iver to help get the sound just right. According to Brookln:
“It was great to work with Sean. Though the songs were already broader in scope than our previous work by the time we got into the studio with him, he really helped to mark this new ground by pounding into place stakes of bold rhythms plus some melodic treasures with piano and keys, even singing on a couple of songs.”
The new single off In Parallel, titled “Signs Are All Gone,” is especially emblematic of the mindset behind the album. The track laments the absence of any familiar landmarks to guide the way home. Like travelers bereft of their bearings, the subjects of the song are lost in a strange new land. The spacey, hypnotic vibe adds to the feeling of being adrift in an alien landscape. Along with the sorrow of loss is a thread of dogged resignation; come what may, the protagonists know they must face the unknown.
Though the song’s mood is somber, the act of its expression is no small triumph. Rue Royale are back, with an album that is deeper, bolder, and more meaningful than ever before. Of the new record, Ruth says:
“We’re conscious that things have maybe taken a bit longer to kick into gear again than we, and those who follow us, anticipated. We’re now embracing our differing perceptions and balancing imbalances. We’re moving forward with a confidence and a sort of wide-angle view comprised of our parallel-realities, exploring these themes and feelings in In Parallel.”
Listen to the new single “Signs Are All Gone” below, and be sure to check out Rue Royale’s new album In Parallel, due out at the end of September.